Friday, June 13, 2014

Scandal mongering

Republicans have an economic agenda that when examined has little appeal to the average person, but they sure can manufacture scandals.  With the moderate success of Obamacare despite the best roadblocks the Republicans could impose they are revisiting Benghazi.  I agree with Hilary, "What Difference does it make. " It has been examined to minimize a repetition and is on a much lesser scale than Republican mistakes in the same field.  Whenever news comes up it seems the Republicans scan through it looking for some edge and if they think they found it they start spouting off without needing study in more depth.

Not sure I am up to date, but two recent scandals have gotten my attention.   The Veterans Affairs and now the prisoner exchange.

The Veterans Affairs "scandal" is literally manufactured.  Not only have Afghanistan and Iraq generated serious injuries that were not predicted by those who engineered the Iraq invasion, but now Vietnam vets are aging and requiring greater  care.  Remedies have been proposed for this increased demand, but shot down by Republicans who are more anxious to reduce taxes and privatize.  It appears obvious that a certain amount of corruption was involved, but the financial stress is obviously a key factor.  It is grossly unfair that Shenseki had to be the fall guy.

Prisoner exchanges will always be awkward if you value the life of one of your own.  There is always a trade-off; if you aren't willing to give up something of value there is little reason to negotiate.  One of the legal realities is that after the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan they will be required to release prisoners of war.  Trying those in Guantanamo has proven to be difficult for a variety of reasons, including the use of torture and political pressures.  The White House saw an opportunity to get some value out of the prisoners.  They also have been maneuvering to develop political relations with the Taliban, with the hope that conflict could be resolved without violence. Aside from all that they need to be taken seriously that no one is left behind.

At this stage the general public does not know all the facts, but some are jumping to the conclusion that the exchange was all bad because the Guantanamo prisoners will come back to haunt the Americans and it was all done for a deserter.  I suspect there are a lot of nuances being overlooked and that some critics are rationalizing their outrage which in many cases was expressed in the opposite cause recently.

Bowe Bergdahl has been painted as a traitor.  Perhaps he didn't see things the way some of those back home see them.  Maybe he is "weak" or maybe he is conscientious.  From what little I have read he seemed very uncomfortable with how the war was treating ordinary Afghans.  Doesn't matter as his government put him in harm's way and has a responsibility to bring him home.  His father is painted as a weirdo with Muslim sympathies.  Not fair as most of us have never been confronted with his helplessness in wanting to protect a loved one under the control of kidnappers.

Snap harsh judgments are often wrong and show little real understanding.  Or a desire to understand.

If the Republicans put as much energy into improving jobs, education, infrastructure, health care, inequality they would earn the right to complain when it is called for.  As it is they are really trying to distract the voter with righteous indignation.

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